Negri brothers collect four gold medals at Victorian sprint titles

Benno Negri, who won a gold medal, in action. Benno Negri, who won a gold medal, in action.

JEWISH swimmers won four gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the 2016 Victorian State Sprint Championships on the weekend.

Bothers Benno and Dante Negri impressed those in attendance with two gold medals each.

Benno won the 17-18 years 50-metre freestyle and 50m backstroke, and reached the finals in the butterfly and breaststroke events, while Dante collected his gold in the 15 years 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly, while also collecting a silver in the 50m breaststroke and bronze in the 50m ­backstroke.

Dante was also a part of the relay team that broke the meet record, which was set last year when Benno was in the relay team.

The pair’s mother Simonne told The AJN that Benno will now set his sights on the National Age Championships in March and then the Olympic Trials in early April.

“The trials are just about getting the experience and being able to compete with the best swimmers in the country,” Simonne said.

“He is doing well enough to earn a spot at the trials and it will be an amazing opportunity for him, but he is realistic.”

Simonne said that the best part of the Victorian State Sprint Championships was actually watching her youngest son, 11-year-old Seba, finish fourth in the 50m butterfly event.

“It was the first time he has been in the mix in the final of a race and it was very exciting,” she said.

“Obviously he has big shoes to fill because of his older brothers, but it was great to see all three competing at the same event together.”

Julian Kowal rounded out the medals for the Jewish swimmers with a bronze in the open 50m freestyle event.

Maccabi Australian National Swimming Council chairman Mark Roseman said that it’s exciting to see so many great swimmers in action only 18 months out from the Maccabiah Games.

“With preparations in full swing for the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel, everyone is swimming well and it’s great to have swimmers participating at the Australian Olympic trials in April.”

One of the highlights of the event was 46-year-old swimmer Michael Carp, who competed against athletes half his age.

While Carp didn’t reach the finals he swam personal-best times in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 50m breaststroke events.

“It was great to get in the pool because this has been a 12-18 month process,” Carp, who stopped ­swimming competitively when he was 14 years old said.

“My daughters swim competitively and they have inspired me to get back in the water and target Maccabiah 2017 as a masters ­swimmer.”

He told The AJN that this event was open to all swimmers over the age of 18, so his aim was to qualify and then swim personal-best times.

“I think it’s a fantastic sport for health and fitness, but perhaps you don’t need to be as meshuganah about it as I am,” he said.

JOSHUA LEVI